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SRQ DAILY Sep 17, 2022

"A college degree is more than a collection of classes and is meant to teach critical thinking, problem-solving and a well-rounded understanding of the world in which we live."

- Carol Probstfeld, State College of Florida

[Gulf Coast]  Collaborate for Housing on the Suncoast
Kameron Hodgens

What will it take for Sarasota to house 100 homeless individuals in the next 100 days?

That’s the question the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness is trying to answer with the launch of a brand new housing initiative called the Suncoast Housing Collaborative. The 100-day challenge is in response to our local housing crisis. 

According to current figures, over 1,000 people are experiencing homelessness in our area, many of whom are families (164) and seniors (386). The solution to homelessness is housing, however our local inventory is at historical lows and the construction of new units cannot happen quickly enough to accommodate the ever-growing need. 

Housing vouchers from the Sarasota Housing Authority are available in our community to offset the cost of housing but again, move-in units are not available. Right now, 29 individuals have a housing voucher but cannot find a place to live because of a lack of units available. An additional 60 individuals have a housing voucher application in progress, but again, will not have any options once their applications are complete. 

Help arrived last March when housing expert, Lizzie Goddard, visited our community to guide us in replicating her wildly successful Nashville Residential Collective Model based in Tennessee. With landlords as part of the solution, the idea is to work directly with them to house those most in need. Based on Goddard’s successes and advice, the SPEH convened their partners, interested community members, and funders to create the Suncoast Housing Collaborative. 

The purpose of the SHC is to partner with and incentivize local landlords to work with individuals and families who face additional barriers to accessing permanent housing. These barriers include previous evictions, low income, and/or criminal history, which further limit an already small pool of available housing. The collaborative supports a Housing First model by connecting people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity to permanent housing as a step towards self-sufficiency. 

Proactive case management and support is a fundamental way the SHC will support clients and help to ensure successful tenancy. These services include case management, mental health supports, life skills training such as budgeting and home management, and access to addiction recovery assistance.

Additional incentives to landlords include sign-on bonuses for being a member of the collaborative, a $2,000 bonus for the first five units leased and an additional $500 bonus for each additional leased afterwards, quarterly check-ins from SHC, and access to a risk mitigation fund and mediation services in case of tenant disputes. If a tenant abruptly leaves, the collaborative will pay that month’s lease and find a new tenant.

Here is where you can help. The SHC is kicking off this initiative with “100 Housed in 100 Days” in conjunction with its website launch. The public will be able to see on the website the progress towards this ambitious goal.  Gulf Coast Community Foundation is a proud partner of these efforts by supporting their website design and maintenance and their consultant services, in partnership with Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, and both Sarasota and Manatee counties. 

If you are a landlord interested in working with the Collaborative to be a part of the solution, please contact Lauren Bowen, Housing Project Manager with the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness, at 941-955-8987 or email her at SHC@suncoastpartnership.org. Additional information about the collaborative can be found at suncoasthousingcollaborative.org.

Together, we can all work towards a solution to affordable housing.

Kameron Hodgens, Ph.D., is a Director of Community Leadership at Gulf Coast Community Foundation.  

[Argus]  A Ringling Bridge Moment on Affordable Housing
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

The City of Sarasota is going through a process to change their seal and logo. Recently, six seal concepts came back to the commission all centered around the Ringling Bridge. This bridge has become a symbol of Sarasota. The exercise in choosing a seal should serve as a reminder to the City Commission that change and progress are good. 

In 2019, I wrote an SRQ Daily column about the history of our iconic bridge and how the city tried to stop the bridge from being built, declaring its height an eyesore before its construction. There were numerous lawsuits and citizens trying to stop it from ever being built, stating that Sarasota would be ruined by this bridge.

It is amazing how far we have come, and our beautiful bridge is a symbol of our evolution. That move from the low-level draw bridge to the fixed-span bridge we have today, was necessary not only to accommodate traffic, but to improve our overall quality of life, and it has done that so much so that we are now placing it on the city’s seal. That bridge is an amazing legacy that will be here for generations.

On Monday, and in the coming weeks, the city will consider change that will be important to future generations, making changes to accommodate and encourage the building of affordable housing.  Make no mistake about it, this is a Ringling Bridge moment. It is a moment where the city should embrace what it is today and the challenges that face it with solutions to improve quality of life. It would be a mistake to ignore the lesson from our own history; Sarasota should seize the opportunity to significantly improve affordable housing and all the benefits that accrues.

I am sure we will hear some of the same arguments from back when the Ringling Bridge was opposed, that it will ruin the city, that eyesores will be created. Similar to arguments about the height of the bridge, and the increased number of cars going over it, we will hear about height and density of buildings accommodating the increasing number of people living here. 

While I am sure we will hear those things, I am equally sure that if we do nothing, we will have a quality of life crisis that will make the problem of putting today’s modern Ringling Bridge traffic on a two lane draw bridge look trivial.

The Ringling Bridge was controversial but necessary for our future. A change that needed to happen, despite the resistance of those who wanted to see Sarasota stay a two-lane bridge town. It’s not a two-lane bridge town, and it’s not a sleepy city like it was 20 years ago when you could shoot a cannon down Main Street at 5pm and not hit anyone. It is a destination and a vibrant city that needs affordable and workforce housing to support the population that patronizes its restaurants and arts. Increased density is a necessity to do that.

It is time for progress and change on housing for our future. The City Commission should support the recommended staff changes to encourage and accommodate workforce housing, and it will be a positive legacy much like the Ringling Bridge.

Christine Robinson is executive director of The Argus Foundation. 

[Higher Education]  The Value of Higher Education
Carol Probstfeld, presidentsoffice@scf.edu

In my nearly 20 years at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, rarely has ‘Should I go to college?’ been the question asked by prospective students but rather, ‘Can I?’ Today, the value proposition of higher education remains solid. Students have numerous options, and at SCF, they can choose when, where and how they pursue a higher education conveniently and affordably.

History tells us the only constant is change. Industry needs shift, individuals outgrow or wish to change their occupations over time, professional growth is among the top retention tools, and some students never want to stop learning. For 65 years, we have adapted our academic programs and student services to be responsive to our community workforce demands.

SCF’s enrollment documents this tradition. Nearly 65% of those we serve are first-time-in-college students, followed by those continuing their education, those transferring back from large universities for the smaller one-to-one classroom setting, and individuals taking classes offered here more affordably or because it’s not offered at their primary institution.

Statistics also tell us that professionals with college degrees will earn more than those without over their lifetime. A college degree is more than a collection of classes and is meant to teach critical thinking, problem-solving and a well-rounded understanding of the world in which we live. The experience itself is also more than just obtaining credentials. Our students consider the peer network, experiential learning opportunities, internships, mentors and social interactions just as valuable as their college degree. Many of our professors maintain contact with their students, fostering their success and connecting them with resources to fulfill their potential. Our SCF pride is displayed when alums share their expertise as successful nurses, teachers, dentists, performers, artists, politicians and entrepreneurs.

Boldly engaging and collaborating to find economic and workforce solutions is also a tradition at SCF. We partner with local school districts, technical colleges and universities to create pathways for the immediate workforce, trades and fields requiring advanced studies. As the labor market shifts, SCF works with our local economic development councils, chambers and businesses to fill the talent pipeline. 

Most recently, to respond to the national crisis of a lack of commercially licensed drivers, SCF collaborated with FleetForce to offer four and eight-week certification courses for class A and B commercial driver’s licenses. We continue with our “Rapid Credentialing” program that provides workforce certificates — a fast, affordable way to prepare students for fulfilling, stable careers with mid to high-wage potential. In addition to the traditional Associate in Arts degree, SCF offers more than 30 associate in science degrees and seven baccalaureate degrees in various majors. We serve over 11,000 through non-credit courses for workforce education, development and personal enrichment. 

As we respond to today’s workforce, we must remain flexible as we know it will change again. Our responsibility is to provide our students with the tools they need to reinvent themselves as they navigate the sea of constant change they will encounter throughout their lives.

Let the value of college be demonstrated by students’ ability to choose when, where and how they will access higher education and use their education to adapt, change and reinvent themselves through their working careers. At SCF, we will meet you where you are and advise you that “you can get anywhere from here.”

Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. 

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Players Centre: Side by Side by Sondheim , September 8 – September 18, Varied

Join The Players in their 93rd Season with Six That Matter – shows that explore finding purpose, the universal desire to live a life that matters, to fully appreciate aspiration. Be it finding true love, sacrificing it all, a life of devotion, cultivating artistry, finding fame, each of these unforgettable shows- important in their own genres, are celebrations of greatness, of striving for more, that will make memories, sparking feelings of joy- of what being alive fully means. Side by Side by Sondheim is a revue that celebrates the wit and genius of musical theatre’s most influential artist, who searched for what it means to be alive. Get ready to laugh, cry and fall in love with lyrics that are heartbreakingly true and music that captures the soaring emotions of a new generation with Side by Side by Sondheim. Simple and unpretentious, this Tony Award-winning musical is a perfect introduction to the work of this contemporary master and a must for diehard fans. September 8th-18th, 2022. For tickets visit theplayers.org, Ph. 941-365-2494, email BoxOffice@ThePlayers.org

The Players Centre For Performing Arts, Performance Venue & Box Office The Crossings at Siesta Key 3501 South Tamiami Trail, Suite 1130 Sarasota, FL 34239

[SOON]  SPORTS: WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup , September 9 – September 18

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) and host USA Baseball revealed the new dates for the next WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup, with the 30th edition of the youth world championship to take place from 9 to 18 September 2022 in Sarasota and Bradenton, Florida. The elite international tournament will be played at Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium and Bradenton’s LECOM Park, the respective Spring Training homes of the Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates of Major League Baseball (MLB). The XXX WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup will include 12 national teams, whose rosters will feature the best youth players in their respective countries.

Ed Smith Stadium and LECOM Park

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Art Museum: 209 - Author Mara Torres González Speaks , September 20, 4pm-6pm

Mara Torres González to Speak About Her Visual Art Book Exploring the Aftermath of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico September 20, 4-6 p.m., at Sarasota Art Museum. Torres González tells the story of the resilient, through “209,” a book featuring her own artwork and published by the Peppertree Press, LLC. “209,” which refers to the date the hurricane took place—September 20—features images of Torres González’s mixed-media paintings, with photography. The book also includes a poem about the hurricane by the New Jersey poet and author Danny Shot, which Torres González will read at this event, which happens to take place on the same day as the hurricane, five years later. Learn more about the artist on her website: www.marastudiogallery.com

Sarasota Art Museum , 1001 South Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Forty Carrots Family Center 20th Annual Free Virtual Community Speaker Event , September 21, 7:00 pm

Registration is open for Forty Carrots Family Center’s 20th annual free educational community speaker event Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine, presented in partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The virtual presentation will feature educational psychologist and best-selling author Michele Borba, Ed.D. at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21st. The event is free and advance registration is required. Michele Borba’s latest book, Thrivers, is a sharply insightful, science-backed guide that helps parents and educators teach the essential character traits kids need to become “thrivers” – young people who flourish in rapidly changing, digitally-driven and uncertain world. Borba will identify seven teachable strengths that will safeguard kids for the future, offering practical “how-to” strategies and ideas for everyday activities that build up kids’ strength, resilience, happiness, and success. Certificates of Attendance and CEU’s will be available. The previous 19 speaker events have reached nearly 14,000 parents, professionals, and educators in our area. To register for this free virtual community event visit www.fortycarrots.org, email events@fortycarrots.com or call (941) 365-7716. RSVP is required and registration is open at www.FortyCarrots.org.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Atelier de SoSi Art Show , August 12 – September 22, 7pm-10pm

Atelier de SoSi announces the opening of their newest art show “An Artful Home at Atelier.” Exhibition Dates: August 12th - Sep 22nd; Opening night: August 12th 7-10pm; Gallery hours Tues - Wed - Thur 1 - 5pm. “An Artful Home at Atelier” - focus is to showcase that art can be both functional and beautiful. Atelier de SoSi’s gallery space will be transformed to represent a living space. Displaying functional art such as: handmade table settings, glassware, lighting, textiles, furniture, etc. The space will also be featuring one of a kind paintings, sculptures and an array of other unique pieces. We want to show the viewer that artwork comes in all shapes, sizes and functionalities. Yes, your coffee table can be a piece of artwork along with your favorite reading chair, lamp, and coffee mug. Art can touch every area of our lives, come see examples of this and find one of a kind pieces for your own living space.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Table Talk Bistro: 80's Themed Murder Mystery Dinner , September 23, 7pm-10pm

Audience involved murder mystery dinner show all 80s theme. Tickets include dinner, show & a choice beverage. Participation Encouraged! We are time traveling back to the 80s! So, dress in those bright color and break out the hairspray for that big hair!! If you attended our last sold-out show, we have a twist for you! Each guest will either be a suspect or a detective! The food will be plentiful and amazing, we do our best for that always! If you have special dietary needs, please let us know upon booking.Seating will not be assigned; tables will remain in our normal restaurant set up and guest will pick their seat as they arrive. You may be meeting new people at your table. Most of our tables are 4 or 6 tops. Message us Directly at Info@tabletalkbistro.com with any questions. Tickets $70 Eventbrite

Table Talk Bistro , 3999 Cortez Road West Bradenton, FL 34210

[SOON]  FILM: Summer Movies at Sarasota Opera House , May 22 – September 23, Varies.

Sarasota Opera is pleased to announce the lineup for the 2022 summer movie series: HD at the Opera House and Classic Movies at the Opera House. HD at the Opera House featuring filmed performances of opera and ballet from around the world will open on Sunday, May 22nd at 1:30 p.m. with Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London, with tickets at $22, and $20 for Sarasota Opera subscribers. The Classic Movies at the Opera House series will open with In the Heat of the Night on Friday, July 8th at 7:30 p.m. with tickets at $12. (Tickets will go on sale starting Monday, May 2nd.)

[SOON]  HEALTH: Zumba at The Bay , July 9 – September 24, 10am-11am

Join Ya’el Campbell for a special monthly Zumba from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. This is a high energy outdoor Zumba class! Come dance with a fantastic group of Zumba Rockstars who will make you move, smile, jump, shake and sing… (it happens sometimes). Grab a friend, bring your kids, and meet new Zumba friends. Program Dates: July 9 (Bayfront Community Center); August 20 (Bayfront Community Center); September 24; The Bay Park, 655 N. Tamiami Trail.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Florida Studio Theatre Improv: We're Doomed , August 13 – September 24, 7:30pm

FST Improv Presents: We're Doomed Beginning August 13 on Saturdays at 7:30pm. In a world where blockbusters come and go, FST Improv entertains with an unforgettable, original, and fully improvised motion picture! The cast of We’re Doomed will perform an improvised horror movie based on a title provided by the audience! We’ll leave the fancy equipment behind as we use unique staging, special effects and onstage acrobatics to recreate the excitement and magic of the silver screen. You’ll even get to see improvised previews of upcoming attractions.

Florida Studio Theatre's Bowne's Lab

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Venice Theatre: God's Country , September 9 – September 25, Varied

God's Country by Steven Dietz. A riveting, highly theatrical docudrama about those dedicated to revolution against the U.S. government and the expulsion from "God's Country" of non-Aryans. Three narrative spines are skillfully interwoven in this thought-provoking, unsettling, and challenging fare that examines America’s dark soul, and asks, “What can/should we do about it?” * Includes violent and graphic images, adult language and heavy adult themes. Audience discretion advised. September 9th-25th, 2022. For more information visit venicetheatre.org, Ph. 941.488.1115, email info@venicetheatre.net

Venice Theatre, 140 Tampa Ave. W Venice, FL 34285 (The Box Office is currently closed for walk-up business)

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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